When the Philadelphia 76ers opted for George Hill over Kyle Lowry at the trade deadline, the decision was made to groom their young guards. Sixers president Daryl Morey even talked about signing Hill to a contract extension in the offseason. Lowry would not be joining his hometown team.
Wait a minute. Lowry is still very much on the franchise’s radar, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick and John Hollinger. The two plugged-in reporters discussed the possibility of Lowry heading to the Sixers next year as part of a possible sign-and-trade. They indicated that the “interest remains very strong there” between the two sides.
Lowry is seeking a new deal in what will likely be the last big payday of his 15-year career, but the Sixers will trim money off the books if they move on from Hill. Here are the details from the new report:
Yet among the three teams known to be in hot pursuit of Lowry back then — the Lakers, Miami and Philadelphia — only the Heat are in a financial position to possibly sign Lowry outright this summer. Sources say the Sixers still plan on pursuing him by way of a possible sign-and-trade. While they added George Hill at the deadline in lieu of Lowry, only $1.2 million of his $10 million salary for next season is guaranteed, and the deal expires at that point. The Lowry interest remains very strong there.
Lowry turned 35 years old on March 25, but the fall-off in his production has been minimal. The six-time All-Star is averaging 16.7 points, 7.3 assists, 5.5 rebounds per game for the Toronto Raptors in 44 games. The Philadelphia native did miss 18 games with a right foot infection earlier in the year.
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Shake Milton Shrugs Off Recent Criticism
One of the young guards seeing an uptick in minutes for the Sixers has been Shake Milton. The 24-year-old has gone through a shaky stretch of games in April yet he has a funny way of turning it on when criticism heats up. It’s been an adjustment period for Milton who battled injuries early in his career and toiled in the NBA’s G-League. Now he’s a regular part of the Sixers’ rotation.
“I remember having 10 points last year and I’m on top of the world. Now, people are like I’m not doing enough,” Milton told reporters after Wednesday’s shootaround. “They’re like ‘Shake, what’s up?’ It’s funny. You just got to kind of take it and go with it. Never get too high, never get too low, and just stick with it so it’s been cool.”
Milton, a second-round pick out of SMU in 2018, is averaging 13.3 points and 2.9 assists in 23.8 minutes per game this season. He scored 20 points off the bench on April 22, then followed it up with 15 points on April 24 and seven points on April 26.
George Hill Continuing to Grow, Contribute
Sixers head coach Doc Rivers continues to be impressed with the way George Hill has impacted his young squad. He’s only averaging 5.4 points through his first five games with the Sixers, but those stats don’t tell the whole story. The 34-year-old veteran guard has been invaluable as a mentor in the locker room. And his defensive play has been remarkable.
“I thought he was a difference-maker when he came in, at least defensively,” Rivers said after the Sixers’ 121-90 win over Oklahoma City. “You could still see his rhythm offensively is not great yet but defensively, man, he is so good. And he talks, just listening to him on the floor directing Shake and directing those guys where to be. Man, he’s good. He’s going to be good for us. You can feel it. You can see it.”